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Lauri Porra is a Finnish composer and musician, who comes from a family of professional musicians stretching back four generations, the most famous of which is the iconic composer Jean Sibelius. Alongside his composition work for orchestras, films and other media, Porra is the bassist in the renowned Finnish power metal band Stratovarius and his own rock/jazz band Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble.
What’s Happening, Lauri?
In addition to the new album by Flyover Ensemble, which will be released soon, one of the highlights of this autumn has been the world premiere of the 50-minute Flyover Symphony, which was performed by Turku Philharmonic Orchestra together with Flyover Ensemble. I’m also finishing my upcoming album Cabins & Hideouts, which will hopefully be released next year. In November and December, I will be touring with Stratovarius in Central and South America.
Since the previous album with Flyover Ensemble, you have released a bass guitar concerto and another commissioned piece, Kohta with rapper Paperi-T. Have these experiences and experiments affected the way you conceive Flyover Ensemble now? Since the previous album with Flyover Ensemble, you have released a bass guitar concerto and another commissioned piece, Kohta with rapper Paperi-T. Have these experiences and experiments affected the way you conceive Flyover Ensemble now?
Music is music, regardless the lineup. The core of my musical thinking is the same, no matter if I compose music for a band or a symphonic orchestra. Flyover Ensemble has developed and changed during the years, and I’m sure my different musical experiences reflects both in my music and the interpretations of the band.
How would you describe Flyover Ensemble’s position on your musical map, is it the kind of music that you prefer to make as a composing band leader?
Flyover Ensemble is very dear to me and it represents an important side of my musicianship. I have also combined Flyover’s music with orchestral music. But I also make different kind of music for different lineups and situations. I aim for consistency as a musician, everything has a place of its own. Flyover is most of all a band, so it is much more than just the songs that I write. An orchestra has its own sound into which each musician brings their own contribution.
Flyover Ensemble will release a new album in November. What kind of a gig can we expect in Tampere?
Because I have been so busy with all the work projects, the band has only had a few gigs in 2019. Tampere Jazz Happening is the first gig with the new album, and I plan to bring new things with us. Let’s see what I come up with.
What is going to happen?
That’s something that no-one knows, but my plan is to make a lot of new music and new musical experiments, hopefully you will here them as well!
Thank you for the interview, Lauri, see you in Tampere!
Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble at Telakka on Saturday, 2 November, at midnight. Read more and buy tickets.
Aki Takase released her first album in 1978, and she still knows how to surprise. In Tampere she is performing with her new quintet Japanic.
What’s happening? Are you satisfied what you have achieved, accomplished so far?
I’m never satisfied, but I want to believe that what I’ve played is so far worth to me. I’m not chasing new things, but I want to find my music, if possible.
About Aki Takase Japanic: The first album Prima Thema feels very energetic, inspired – and inspiring. What was the impetus of putting together exactly this band, with these musicians? Had you already composed new material for this group, or was it the group that inspired to compose these new pieces?
First of all, I had an idea to start a new group two years ago and there were several sounds in my imagination, what I would like to express with my new group. Before I started to have some rehearsals, I already had composed a lot, but I also added some new compositions later. My interest is to build a bridge between compositions and improvisations. It’s also an idea of crossing the music. My music is influenced by Conlon Nancarrow. At the same time, different music tempos and rhythms occur in parallel.
On previous albums you paid homage to afro-american masters like Coleman, Dolphy, Ellington, Monk and Waller. What would you say to young and upcoming musicians: is it important to know the history in order to create something of your own, or even something new?
We are not living in the past or in the future. we are living now. But knowing the history of jazz has a great connection to living now. I think that new music is born from knowing the history of music.
What is “japanic” in Japanic? To what does it refer to, besides your country of birth? Besides, you have made previously only a few references to Japan, like on the album titles Close Up Of Japan, Yokohama and Hokusai. Has this been a conscious choice, maybe in some way to distance yourself from Japan?
„Ja“ and „Panic“. The reality is that we have not yet recovered from the big damage caused by the 2011 Tsunami-Earthquake. I want to say to the young people in Japan „ Don’t give up the hope for the future“!
I love and hate my country like everyone who has home country. I am 100% japanese and I never forget my country, even if I cannot be proud of my country. But I hope my country gets a little better and I want the Japanese to remember the wonderful art and beautiful spirit that they have had in the past.
What’s going to happen?
I have a plan to make a recording in Duo with Daniel Erdmann next summer. I will also start a new project Carmen Rhapsody with opera singer, and maybe a big ensemble project for my new pieces for the future .
Thank you for the interview Aki Takase, and see you in Tampere!
Aki Takase Japanic at Pakkahuone on Saturday 2 November at 21.45. Read more about the concert.
Trombone player Samuel Blaser took on the opportunity, presented by the Tampere Jazz Happening, to bring together a brand new, international jazz septet to interpret Don Drummond’s compositions. The world premiere will take place on Saturday, 2 November at Klubi.Continue reading